Clean, simple toddler-friendly graphics are wasted in an app riddled with bugs and design flaws.
A genial khaki-clad host (who does double duty as the recurrent “home” button) invites young visitors to meet a menagerie of (mostly) familiar animals. Readers can see the animals either by pressing a letter on an alphabetical grid or taking an A-Z tour. Depicted in screen-print style, each creature runs through a short and often comical animation, then freezes next to its name and an upper- and lowercase letter. Touching the animal sets off a brief sound effect, and tapping the name and the letters activates pronunciations in two voices (a child and an adult) with British accents (“Z” is pronounced “zed”). That, plus a crowded “Zoo” page on which all the animals gather to sound off, is it for interactive features. Readers can neither activate any of the sound effects nor switch to another page until the animation has finished its course. Furthermore, not only does the Captain’s instruction to bring back the grid by tapping his hat sometimes play at inappropriate times, but any temptation to linger on one page or another is met after a few seconds with, “Shall we go then?” and “No time to tarry!” Also, though the vocals are as bright and lively as the art, the child’s “b” and “d” are indistinguishable.
Visually attractive, but feature-poor and obnoxious to boot. (iPad alphabet-book app. 1-3)